The Miami Heat's famously hard-working culture is back in the news, which is always a good thing because it usually means the team is winning games. This time, though, the rest of the NBA and much of the media seem to be finally realizing #HeatCulture isn't just a catchy slogan; it's a phenomenon that translates onto the court.
Wednesday's 114-106 win over the Indiana Pacers wasn't just the Heat's sixth straight victory; it also marked the midway point of the season. The results? So far, so good. For those scoring at home, the Heat is 24-17, good enough for a fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. To say people have noticed the team's surprising start would be an understatement: The Heat is the talk of the NBA.
Though the Heat finished the second half of last season 30-11, that record is still quite surprising. Miami has weathered the storm that has come with playing a difficult schedule to start the season, combined with sometimes having only eight or nine players dressed for games because of numerous injuries.
Most teams, especially those like the Heat that lack even one player who has ever been an NBA All-Star, would have turtled under the pressure Miami has faced this season. But this franchise is built to overcome.
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While some people argue how to build a team and tanking, the Heat are now 54-28 in their last 82 games.— Will Manso (@WillManso) January 11, 2018
I repeat: 54-28 in the last complete season of action.
At some point people will take notice. I know I have.
When the Heat decided to bring back last year's squad, many observers (including this writer) were concerned that locking up a mediocre roster for the foreseeable future meant a limited ceiling. Though that is still true, the team is living in the now and getting the most out of the least.
As noted by Local 10's Will Manso on Twitter a couple of days ago, the team is a cool 54-28 in its last full season of games. That's good for not only a fine team but also any team. That's a record LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would be delighted to have at the end of the season, particularly given how they've been playing lately.
Maybe it's time for everyone, including Heat fans who doubted this year's roster, to appreciate just how much the team does to make the best of what it has. It's also time for the rest of the NBA and those who cover it to stop acting so surprised when winning streaks happen.